Week 7: Networks

Rizzo, Teresa. “Programming Your Own Channel: An Archaeology of the Playlist”. In Kenyon, Andrew, Ed. TV Futures: Digital Television Policy in Australia. Carlton, VIC: Melbourne University Press, 2007, pg. 108-134

With the increasing significance and the perceived dominance of the new age of spatial viewing, traditional broadcast and temporal viewing are seen as dying. How this is so is highlighted in this reading, as outline in this reading, which aims to address issues related to the notion of the playlist and the personalisation of media.

The two main concepts and ideas raised by Rizzo were the creation of the personalized playlist and the notion of ‘flow’.

In the reading, Rizzo makes a connection with the personalized playlist to democracy, quoting Rob Cover who says “a desire for democratisation of the media process, by which I mean the desire or demand of audiences for co-participation in scheduling….and engaging with media and entertainment.” This ‘democratisation’ is the result of spatial viewing, which has given us the ability to create our own personal ‘playlist’. Here, we can see and view whatever we desire. As highlighted in Tivo’s (a Personal Digital Recorder) advertising slogan, “TV your way”. This choice that audiences possess can be seen as a ‘right’, in a context to that of democratic politics.

An interesting portrayal of this ‘democratisation of the media process’ is seen with the case of Youtube: Broadcast Yourself, where several countries around the globe (all non-democratic) have been known to block Youtube or at least certain videos related to sensitive national issues in those countries. It is perhaps this fear of Youtube, with its slogan “Broadcast Yourself” that non-democratic governments fear and attempt to quell, often with force. It has given power and information to almost anyone with a computer, and internet connection (sometimes even without a computer, as a mobile phone would be suffice). The singular power authority of Broadcast Media is being undermined by spatial media networks.

The broadcast propaganda of these regimes so very little difference in its content. It encourages unity amongst a nation’s populace; perhaps in a manner similar to William’s Flow, which ‘enables unity, (but) inhibits difference”. William’s flow characterised the dominant nature of temporal viewing. Although he intended this to be related to broadcast viewing, it can be applied to other networks as well, such as entire populaces as in the exampe above. Broadcast media have a certain agenda or attitude that it wants audiences to adopt. As suggested in Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 theory, it is about where you can create information and content, and not just passively view and absorb it. It is as Rizzo says, “what users do with the flow rather than how flow is created.”

The argument of Deleuze & Guattari’s reinterpretation of William’s network ‘flow’ characterizes today’s new spatial rea­lm of television and media entertainment. Of course the theory is not perfect, as not everyone possesses a PDR or even access to digital television. Also, temporal & broadcast viewing still enjoys large popular in today’s networks and societies. Spatial media has not taken over temporal media, at least not just yet. Broadcast Media still enjoys a substantial amount of power. However, with the increasing popularity of personalised media, what would result in this new networked world of spatial viewing (and sharing) will perhaps permanently shape the course of human history.

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